Remembering our 2008 Championship

February 24 is a day that will live long in Newcastle Jets folklore – the day we won the Championship.

In just our third season of the A-League, Newcastle were treated to a season of tremendous highs knocking off our arch-rival to claim our first title that still stands today as our most valued victory in Club history.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane as we remember the match that was and the subsequent celebrations.


After going down in a thrilling semi-final series against the Mariners a week prior, our Jets fought their way into the Grand Final following an extra time victory in the Preliminary Final.

This set up one of the fiercest A-League Grand Finals in history, and it was set to be contested on neutral soil at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Incredibly, the match would be the sixth time the two teams faced off over the course of the season and each time before served up an exciting bout. Mariners had only managed one victory from those matches, but that came in the most recent match of the semi finals where they successfully returned serve with a 3-nil victory after we attained a two goal lead from the first of the legs.

Stars filled both teams’ squads. The Mariners posed a team featuring the likes of Socceroos John Aloisi, Mile Jedinak and Tony Vidmar who was featuring in his last competitive game. While in the Gold of the Jets, Golden Boot and Johnny Warren Medallist Joel Griffiths was leading the charge, alongside his brother, Adam, and stalwarts Matt Thompson and Jade North.

Interestingly enough, former CEO Lawrie McKinna lined up as Head Coach of the Mariners, with future Jets legend Nigel Boogard also wearing the yellow of Central Coast, while Gary van Egmond featured on our sidelines.


36,000+ raucous fans filled the stands of Sydney and tension was high from the get-go.

Matt Thompson was the first man to threaten. He latched himself onto a tidy through pass from Adam D’Apuzzo and his toed shot flew inches over the bar.

Minutes later, we were troubling the Mariners’ defence again – this time thanks to a link up play from Mark Bridge and Song Jin-Hyung. Song played a tasty little backheel into the path of Bridge, who smacked the ball from outside the penalty area, dashing it just past the upright.

Adam Kwasnik showcased the first half-chance for the Coast, after he tried curling a ball from an acute angle just inside the box at the 30-minute mark, but their golden opportunity to score came just after the recommencement of play in the second half. Australian penalty-shootout hero Aloisi found himself on the end of a good Kwasnik cross, and earned himself a free header, but it sprayed to side of goal.

Midway through the second half, van Egmond made the risky decision of playing with three at the back as we searched for the opener.

Central Coast looked as though they were in the drivers’ seat before the retiring Vidmar made a costly error – one that we capitalised on and never let go of.

After slipping over as one of the last men at the back, Bridge took possession and looked to attack goal. Only Alex Wilkinson stood in his way. With one touch to the right, our attacker set himself up, and struck a beautiful, curling shot from outside the box.

The back of the net bulged, and the Jets faithful erupted. It was 1-nil.

With almost 30 minutes still to play, our job was not done and as the clock ticked down, defence became the order of the day.

The Mariners had their chances – Simon pushed a shot wide from inside the penalty area, and Aloisi squandered a dangerous cross despite his calls for a foul.

Stoppage time came, and more chaos ensued, this time from the Mariners fans as they believed a penalty was earned from a last-gasp corner. Red cards were brandished, no penalty was given, and the full-time whistle sounded.

Cue the elation.


Gold limbs were everywhere. Cheers, jumping, flags waving – it was all happening as our team celebrated the incredible.

After a great defensive performance, Andrew Durante was the man who deservingly received the Joe Marston Medal as our team soaked it up with the Newcastle fans before carrying the joy into dressing rooms.

Just a few days later, a parade through the centre of Newcastle took place and our fans came out in droves, drowning the Town Hall and it’s surrounds with a sea of gold.

The players were welcomed, the trophy was displayed and we received a key to the City.

What a time to be a Jets fan. We know there’s more moments like this right around the corner, and we can’t wait.